Content marketers are in a war to win customers’ attention. Are you prepared to win?
Thanks to content overload, more and more content marketing just gets ignored. Now you need a strategy that makes your content even more competitive.
Today’s infographic on how to win attention with content marketing can help you.
Social media and news media value brevity. So do your audiences.
We see evidence of short attention spans all around:
- More than half (55%) of webpage users spend fewer than 15 seconds active on a page, says Tony Hale, CEO of Chartbeat.
- Videos on Vine average 6.5 seconds.
- Twitter limits a message to 140 characters, a limitation that has become a virtue. Unfortunately, due to its business woes, Twitter may start to allow longer posts up to 10,000 characters – a strategic mistake that would wreck its purpose as the world’s biggest headline-writing contest.
- The average quote in the New York Times runs 19 to 20 words, says Ann Wylie of Wylie Communications. The most common length of a Times quote, she found: just 7 words.
- In the 1930s and 1940s, the average shot in a movie lasted 10 seconds. But movies made since 2000 feature average shot lengths of less than 4 seconds, says Dr. Carmen Simon of Rexi Media.
Content marketers have only seconds to catch customers’ attention. So, when you do, it’s time to capitalize on the opportunity.
Make sure your message expands effortlessly, like an accordion, from short to medium to long forms — while staying consistent. Your content marketing gains that kind of flexibility with a 1-Page Message MapTM.
Over time, content marketers can command a growing share of your customers’ attention by “laddering up” from short to longer pieces of content.
This infographic illustrates the approach of laddering up from short-form to long-form content (left to right). I use this framework to help clients create an expandable message, plan a portfolio with content assets of different lengths, and schedule the content marketing calendar.
The first battle you must win is to catch 7 seconds of attention. That amounts to 23 words (or less) for a headline, a Tweet, an email subject line, a sound bite in news media, or an elevator pitch. Your first 23 words need to be awesome for your customer to go forward.
Next, offer content that’s a little longer. Make it 2 minutes or 400 words long, in a webpage, a news release, blog, short video, infographic, or social media post.
Then, work your way up to 5 minutes or 1,000 words of text. That includes a long webpage, news release, blog, video, magazine article, or a short presentation.
When you’ve gotten this far successfully, it’s time to offer your customer meaty content – 20 minutes or 4,000 words. In this category, create speeches, white papers, e-books, reports, long articles, long presentations and videos.
To my surprise, at Tellabs we learned that our longest-form content, specifically white papers, was also our most-read content. That’s the kind of insight only analytics can show you.
If your content that runs longer than 20 minutes, it’s easier to think about it as a series of chunks of 20-minute-long content. Most people just can’t sustain full attention for any longer than 20 minutes.
In events and presentations, change up the format to reboot your audience’s attention at least every 20 minutes. Changing up even more often may help keep more of your audience tuned in. Just don’t overdo it.
Are you ready to capture customers’ attention in only 7 seconds?
We can prepare you to win that battle for attention, with a 1-Page Message Map.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.
Latest posts by George Stenitzer (see all)
- “How do you convince upper management to create the smaller bits of content to get people to the larger white papers?” – Q&A
- Q&A – “How do you convince all levels of an organization to move toward content marketing and away from campaign to campaign?”
- “How do you efficiently take one piece of content and quickly adapt it across internal/external channels?” – Top 100 Question